Meddling Lawyers Thwarting Efforts to Hand Count Ballots, Contradicting Arizona Attorney General


A group of concerned Arizonans has been trying to stop Arizona counties from using electronic voting machine tabulators, but due to lawyers intervening, so far only one small county has taken any action, merely including some hand counting. And after they did, Marc Elias, one of the most powerful activist progressive attorneys in the country, swooped in with his out-of-state firm to sue the Cochise County Supervisors. He did so despite the fact Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a legal opinion a couple of days earlier stating counties have the legal authority to hand count ballots.


Many of the county attorneys are going along with Elias, terrified of the Arizona State Bar coming after them, which has one of the worst reputations in the country for going after conservative attorneys. One election attorney flat out told the concerned Arizonans he would not represent them or he’d be disbarred, so they’ve had to represent themselves in legal proceedings.


The group asserts that using the machines violates A.R.S. 16-442(B), since the companies that certify the machines are not lawfully accredited. The group has informed county officials around the state that “accreditation requirements were put in place by the Election Assistance Commission as a firewall to assure the public that these electronic voting machines are not compromised; that they reflect with 100% accuracy, the intent of the voter.” They said this was violated in the 2018 election, the 2020 election and still has not been fixed for the 2022 election. 


The attorneys make excuses like stating it’s too close to an election to make any changes — but they were fine making all kinds of last minute changes to election procedures due to COVID-19. 


A.R.S. 16-443 clearly states that counties may hand count ballots: “Ballots or votes may be cast, recorded and counted by voting or marking devises and vote tabulating devices as provided in this article.” A.R.S. 16-602 explains how hand counts will take place. Brnovich interpreted this to allow for a hand count of every ballot, although he said it’s limited to five races. There’s no requirement in the law to use machines.  


The effort to switch to hand counts began when Arizona Corporation Commissioner Jim O’Connor sent letters to county officials putting them on notice that using the voting machines violates the law. Radical Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is running for governor, turned around and filed an ethics complaint against him. Act for America teamed up with Arizona’s Save my Freedom movement to launch a grassroots campaign demanding that the officials conduct hand counts. Arizonans sent nearly 634,000 emails through the effort. 


A raucous debate took place at the Pinal County Supervisors’ meeting. A Pinal County Deputy Attorney dismissed Brnovich’s opinion as not very authoritative, and complained that it would be difficult to get enough volunteers to hand count. 


Daniel Wood, one of the group members calling for hand counts, testified that the U.S. has hand counted ballots for 200 years, so thwarting this effort is a “disenfranchisement of the people’s vote.” He said it was ridiculous that France does a nationwide hand count in eight hours yet attorneys claim a small county can’t do one. Brian Steiner, another member of the group, explained why the machines’ certifications aren’t valid, which he’s outlined in a video


Pinal County Supervisor Mike Goodman dismissed their testimony because they weren’t attorneys and said he would go with the advice of the Pinal County Attorney. Supervisor Jeff Serdy went along with him, “This is not Maricopa County where all of the possible shenanigans were, and then everybody tried to cover it up and suppress it, whatever was going on.” 


Brave county supervisors who are standing up to their own attorneys have been forced to hire outside counsel instead. Cochise County Attorney Brian MacIntyre threatened the supervisors during an open meeting, saying the county insurance would not pay for them if they were sued, and refused to defend them. He ranted about how they would be held “personally liable,” and the county could lose state funding. “The board will get sued, and the opposing parties will prevail,” he claimed.  


Wood responded and said MacIntyre had made “a threat” against the supervisors and everyone present at the meeting, prompting clapping and cheers of “Follow the law!”


Wood got involved with the issue after running for Congress against Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-03) and discovering on election night he’d initially received over 100,000 votes, but as the evening went on, his vote count went down. As a former police officer, that struck him as “reasonable suspicion” something was amiss. He became even more concerned when he heard whistleblower testimony during a legislative hearing led by State Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), who is now running for Secretary of State, that “35,000 was embedded into each Democrat candidates’ total votes” in Pima County.”


As the former Maricopa County Elections attorney, I am appalled to see these attorneys substituting their own political agendas in place of their statutory responsibility to merely provide legal advice. Paul Rice, another member of the concerned group of Arizonans, said, “The attorneys are violating their rules of professional ethics as well as statutes by not letting the boards act independently and autonomously and supporting them in good faith.”


The group has filed multiple lawsuits but gotten nowhere due to judges who I believe are more concerned about staying out of the way of the Arizona State Bar and fitting in with the cool attorneys at the best cocktail parties. They’ve now made presentations to seven of Arizona’s 15 counties. 

They’re continuing their efforts to convince other counties, speaking with Yavapai County Supervisors this past week. The group is fighting back against the attorneys by insisting they go on record and put their legal opinions in writing, which can be required by A.R.S. 11-532(A)(7), so the public is made aware of what they’re doing.

Reprinted from Townhall
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